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After nursery meltdowns

(18 Posts)
FL95 Wed 08-Jul-20 17:51:42

My 2.3 year old has just started nursery again and it has been horrendous! He used to be a very sweet, calm and content boy but he now has huge meltdowns every day after nursery and is very aggressive, pulling my hair, hitting and biting like he is possessed! It's quite scary as so out of character! Thankfully he only lashes out with me and is lovely at nursery. I guess he keeps it in all day and let's go of all the emotions once home with me.
Does anyone have advice on how to best deal with the meltdowns, or has been in the same situation and can give me hope that he is still my lovely boy and it will pass?
I want to cry about it most days! I miss him terribly and am all excited for him to come home but then it goes all wrong...

OP’s posts: |
rottiemum88 Wed 08-Jul-20 17:57:10

Mine is going a bit like this since being back at nursery, he's only 18 months. No useful advice sorry. We've put it down to tiredness 🤷🏼‍♀️😔

summerfish Wed 08-Jul-20 18:07:25

We had exactly the same last year. DD was like a wild animal! I could barely restrain her.

We used to take her up to her room and just let her calm down. Sometimes we'd film her and (when she was calm) show her the videos (not cruelly) and laugh about them together so she could sort of understand she'd lost control and it gave us a reference point.

Easier said than done but keeping a sense of humour about it really helped too. It passed within a couple of months.

FL95 Wed 08-Jul-20 18:12:37

Yes he doesn't nap properly there so there is definitely some tiredness. I feel like I am failing him. He has been crying in bed for 40 minutes now. When I go to see him he tells me to go away and if I try to stay or cuddle him the tantrum kicks up a notch. Its the worst sad

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FL95 Wed 08-Jul-20 18:15:30

Thanks @summerfish, how old was she at the time? Yes, a wild animal is a very accurate description ! We are just resorting to leaving him in his bed too, he keeps hitting his head against the bars but it's still the safest place. Once he calms down he does bring up the fact that he has been upset and crying so we try to help him process it. hope it passes!

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ActuallyItsEugene Wed 08-Jul-20 18:19:20

I think it's a mixture of everything.

Tiredness, new environment, new routines, new people.
It can all get a bit much for them.
Especially after the uncertainty and abruptness of COVID and the subsequent closures.

It's tough, I feel for you.
Are there any particular triggers for his meltdowns? How do you get home from nursery? For my DD I found that I needed to pick her up in the car (instead of walking) and have a drink and a snack waiting by her seat which she'd have whilst driving home.
That stopped the majority of the fights before we got home!

happytoday73 Wed 08-Jul-20 18:23:46

Mine both did this at similar stage... They did grow out of it.its just tiredness I'm sure made worse by shutdown..

We just kept evenings short and calm as much as possible... That includes letting them lie on floor and have a wobbler if needed... Just couldn't calm down for a while

userabcname Wed 08-Jul-20 18:29:23

Mine used to tantrum at pick up! I had a snack on standby which helped and then got his dinner ready quickly (I think he was so absorbed playing and chatting with the other kids that he wasn't eating much so was hangry!). I'm hoping when he goes back in September he will have grown out of it.

TheVanguardSix Wed 08-Jul-20 18:30:04

That's one tired boy.
He sounds terribly frustrated and he may not know how to express what it is he's feeling.
How many hours is he there? To be honest, if my child behaved this way, I'd be rethinking things. Reduce hours. Consider whether the nursery is the right choice, the right environment. Talk to them about his behaviour at home. Is he getting enough attention at nursery? Food? Water? Rest? It's very easy for kids to get lost in the shuffle, feeling overlooked and quite lonely at nursery, especially at this age. He sounds overwhelmed. How many children are in the nursery?

TheVanguardSix Wed 08-Jul-20 18:36:32

I hadn't even taken lockdown into account when I posted!

Yes, as others have said, have a drink and snack on the ready when he comes out. Sometimes they don't like the food they're offered at nursery or else they're not hungry at the time they're offered food. So just be ready for feeding time at the zoo when it's home time. And keep bringing food at pick-up throughout primary school. It's a mood enhancer for sure! grin
Poor little guy. It's very tough on you and on him. I remember crying lots of tears myself over tantrums. It's very draining. It all goes away eventually. flowers

HoneyWheeler Wed 08-Jul-20 18:38:13

Totally normal but not easy at all!

I would say that tiredness is a big part of it, and (assuming here) that you've spent a lot of time together over lockdown and he's probably missing you?

When this happened with my son, and it did ever few months, I always made sure I had a snack he loved ready when I picked him up. As soon as we got home it was 5 minutes of 1:1 play time, just me and him. Whatever he wanted. If he wanted to ride me like a pony, that's what we did. If he wanted to be a lion and roar at me, that's what we did. This is in fact my go to strategy when we have a few days of challenging behaviour

Sometimes I was at the end of my bloody tether, but I tried really hard to regulate myself because then I am a safe coregulating brain for my son. He's telling you he feels safe to show you how he's really feeling. It's a backwards toddler compliment!

HoneyWheeler Wed 08-Jul-20 18:38:23

Totally normal but not easy at all!

I would say that tiredness is a big part of it, and (assuming here) that you've spent a lot of time together over lockdown and he's probably missing you?

When this happened with my son, and it did ever few months, I always made sure I had a snack he loved ready when I picked him up. As soon as we got home it was 5 minutes of 1:1 play time, just me and him. Whatever he wanted. If he wanted to ride me like a pony, that's what we did. If he wanted to be a lion and roar at me, that's what we did. This is in fact my go to strategy when we have a few days of challenging behaviour

Sometimes I was at the end of my bloody tether, but I tried really hard to regulate myself because then I am a safe coregulating brain for my son. He's telling you he feels safe to show you how he's really feeling. It's a backwards toddler compliment!

Tyranttoddler Wed 08-Jul-20 18:39:47

I do food, drink and TV straight away. She lies on a cushion on the sofa and watches it for at least 20 mins before she gets herself together

FL95 Wed 08-Jul-20 19:39:59

Thank you all for the tips and I feel a bit better knowing we are not alone!
Once he calmed down he was adorable and cuddly and the rest of the evening went well, phew! I will try the snack at pick up time tomorrow, anything to break the cycle!
I was starting to think we made a mistake sending him back but he actually really seems to enjoy nursery and is very excited to go in the morning. But it's obviously still a huge change from being with me 24/7 during lockdown, we had a lot of fun in our little bubble. Hopefully it gets easier as he adjusts fully!

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summerfish Wed 08-Jul-20 19:40:26

My DD was about 3 and a bit at the time. It was really hard work but we correlated it entirely with her "longer " day at nursery and just knew after a while to treat her with kid gloves.

It passes. She was better left alone than fussed over - seemed to pass quicker although we had to put her in her own room because she would kick out at anything she could see.

She is a relatively placid and totally normal 4 year old now!

FizzingWhizzbee123 Thu 09-Jul-20 17:32:28

Just sympathy here. Having exactly the same with my 2.5 yr old DS. He’s full of brand at nursery but an emotional mess at home. Just giving him lots of reassurance and hoping it’ll pass as he settles back in.

FL95 Fri 10-Jul-20 23:07:27

Thank you @summerfish, that's reassuring.

Sorry to hear @FizzingWhizzbee123! I hope it passes soon for us. I actually tried the snack idea yesterday and it did work. I don't think he is hungry but it just broke the cycle by introducing something unexpected in the routine. We were still on eggshells
and knew he could turn at any point but we made it til bedtime unscathed!!

OP’s posts: |
Lockdownseperation Sat 11-Jul-20 12:04:17

Bring a drink and a snack for on the way home. Sometimes this helps.

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